Saturday, February 2, 2008

Off Topic: Why Gasol Trade Is Not A Guaranteed Winner

I realize that this trade has essentially no direct affect on any Wisconsin sports or Wisconsin TV, but something has been bothering me about this Gasol trade. Turn on TNT any Thursday night or ABC on Sunday and you will probably find that the Lakers are on and with the new edition of Pau Gasol, look for the Laker love fest to garner big attention once again on ESPN. As with the first big trade of any approaching trade deadline, the story tends to get beaten to death. The usual talking-heads have stated their respective cases as to why the Lakers are now one of the top teams in the West, and maybe they are, but personally I need to vent about this. Yahoo NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski writes this piece of work, in which he claims Gasol is a good fit for the Lakers' "Triangle Offense" but then throws flimsy examples and zero actual basketball reasons why he is. The truth is Gasol is good player but not a player that will get the Lakers into the finals.

In the short term, while Bynum is out with a knee injury, this trade does look to help the Lakers who are 4-5 without him. Lets be honest, Kwame Brown is bad. I mean real bad. Like Nic Cage's accent in Con-Air bad. Brown has had more than enough opportunities to justify his #1 over all selection in 2001, and looks to be officially a dud. Gasol will once again restore the low post scoring that the Lakers appear to need. But Gasol is not much of a defender and usually matches up with the weaker of big men the other team has to offer. He is your typical big European player, a finesse guy who tends to be soft on defense. Now he will be forced to matchup against a more physical center at all times.

In my opinion the real problem lies when Andrew Bynum is back. What happens to this team? Well the typical sports analyst tends to drool over the fact that they will boast of a front line of 7'0", 7'0", and 6'11". Definately a match up problem for many teams but really how much of a help is that size going to be. Gasol shifts to a more natural position in the PF spot, but Odom who is really an enigma gets moved to a SF position. That is a problem, while Odom is a wide body, a good rebounder and a solid passer he is as slow as they get. Now you have to match him up with some of the SF studs in the West? That is a serious mismatch. Clearly rebounds will be tough for other teams to gobble up but how does this team of Kobe, Fisher, Odom, Gasol, and Bynum match up with the run and gun teams of the West like Golden State or Phoenix??? Smaller more agile fowards will run circles around these guys. How can Odom or Gasol cover Shawn Marion or Stephen Jackson? The answer is they simply can't. Even now on offense Odom is forced further from the basket where he will have to fend off his horrible vice of shooting three-pointers. Odom is 22% behnid the arc this year and 31% life time, still he feels justified to hoist up 1.8 treys a game (this is incredibly down from the 3.3 long-balls per game he shot last year). The addition of Gasol also clutters up the post and ruins the fluidity of the triangle offense. One of the nice things about Bynum is his ability to slow down the pace of the game, let Kobe run the offense and have those two play a two man game with Walton or Ariza floating between the high post and three point line. Now you have the Odom out there, who is basically a non-threat. You also cut the playing time of three young, developing, intangible players in Trevor Ariza, Luke Walton and Ronny Turiaf. In my opinion Turiaf should have been starting at center with Bynum out. He is more of a high energy guy, can jump through the roof and plays great defense. If given the chance he can score too.

The other part of this deal that seems to get overlooked is the fact that the Lakers have morgaged their future in a lot of respects just to seemingly appease Kobe. Not only by shipping two first round picks from 2008 and 2010, they also sent a good rookie point guard in Javaris Crittenton who was in their plans for the future. Also they are giving Gasol nearly $49.5 million over the next three years which could end up costing $80 million in salary and luxury tax penalties over that time.

The Lakers make this deal probably because of one or a combination of these reasons:

A) To keep Kobe happy.

B) Because the are truely worried about making the playoffs this year with the absence of Bynum which leads to C.

C) Andrew Bynum's knee is not going as well as he stated it was, which for the record it has been rumored he may miss the entire season now.

Either way they upgraded their team for the regular season. However in a Western Conference that looks to have a few run-n-gun teams shooting it out in the playoffs, getting passed one of those teams for the Lakers will be a problem. And I will give my word on that.


Winks said...

Yeah, welcome Bear everybody! Anyone who can get this passionate about Pau Gasol is a more than welcome here!

Winks said...

Ha, looks like I need to look over my comments before I post them now. We've come full circle.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the stupidest articles I've ever read. Have you ever, EVER, watched Gasol play? Do you know that he doesn't occupy the post like Shaq did? That he can hit a 15-footer? There was a time when centers and power forwards could play on the same team and it wasn't called a problem. Now it is? Also, in terms of the run and gun "problem," that is why there are 12 players on a team instead of 5. Regular starting 5 too slow? Put in Farmar or Ariza. I don't understand how trading a man who couldn't do the basics of basketball (catch a ball, dribble, put it in the basket) for a franchise player, world MVP, and 20+10 guy can EVER be seen as a bad trade. Simply incomprehensible.

Anonymous said...

i cant believe they traded all those picks and young guys for this spanish stiff. good read.

Anonymous said...

So those other "run and gun" teams in the west will have no problems matching up with the Lakers huh? You do know the Lakers smoked the Suns both times they played this year when Bynum was healthy, right? How far do run and gun teams go in the playoffs? It's the teams (ie San Antonio and Detroit), who have a big run line and slow the game down, who win in the playoffs. You, obviously, know nothing about NBA basketball.

Anonymous said...

Laker Truthers in full FORCE!!!!!!
Get over the chub fest, not everything about that trade was sunshine and rainbows.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I agree with the article, but that one guy is mad like you killed his dog.

go lake show

Anonymous said...

i dont think its a bad trade for us, but how much of a difference will gasol make?

Anonymous said...

Good first post Bear...although I was expecting Real World. Nice Con-Air reference.

Yeah I don't care about NBA basketball, but I read it cause it gives me something to do at work.


Anonymous said...

I think Gasol will def. help out the Lakers.You cant deny that hes a soild player. I mean ANYONES better than Kwame he was just horrible! Good point on the draft picks though thats the one aspect that made it kinda shaky for me. On the other hand the Lakers are a young team already so getting more rookies might not help as much as one would think. Also when they win the Championship they would get a low first round pick anyways so....Im all for the trade.

¡¡Its In The FRIDGE!!

Anonymous said...

I think we can see 2 kinds of players... those who play for himself and the others that play for the team. Gasol is a "typical big European player" who plays for the team and Kobe knows that fact. So some people should think before saying stupid words.
Basketball is not just muscle power you can win if you add intelligence and knowledge of the game.

yngboyjay said...

Apparently this author knows nothing about the game of basketball. I completely agree with the first comment about this post. How on Earth can anyone say the Lakers wont be able to match up with the Phoenix teams of the world, and not to mention the WARRIORS?!?!?!?!. Thats absolutely ridiculous. Correct me if im wrong, but before the Gasol trade had we not already taken 2 of 3 from both teams? We've dominated the Warriors practically since their existence, and this trade just adds to it. Now if you knew the game of basketball, you'd realize controlling the tempo of the game means everything. Why do you think the Spurs have such great success against the Suns? Because they slow them down, and turn them into a half court team, something the Suns aren't quite good at. And how do the Spurs slow them down? With the INSIDE out game of Tim Duncan. The Lakers now have the best frontcourt in basketball, if Andrew comes back healthy, and we have the ability to slow any running team down, and grind out any game with the heavyweights down low. The Lakers are the team to beat in the West. And I will give my word on that.

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